easy guide on mixing


 Easy guide to mixing techniques

 Mixing is an art that gets better with time,practice and experiences with sounds.Also there are no two mixes that sound the same, each  got their own sonic differences. In a nutshell i will dive right on what is mixing and the different techniques you can use to make your track sound better sonically.

What is Mixing in music production?

Mixing is a term used in music production . It is a process that involves adjusting and combining more than one track together to form a single stereo audio file after a mix-down.

This process involves adding EQ’s (Equalization),adjusting volume faders on different tracks and adding effects. The stereo file is then mastered, which ensures that the various songs are clearly polished and form a cohesive whole on an album.


Here are Simple Mixing Guide techniques that will take your track from dull to one that is Lively:


  1. Sound Selection

Another way to achieve a good mix is having a proper sound selection.This point should be considered first even before composing any music.You do not want to use shitty sounding samples ,one shots.This because you will end up with a horrible sound.

Instead arm yourself with high quality sound arsenal be it instruments or drums that are in use. Get Our Top free Vsts

Using a proper sound selection can and will always save you hours of trying to filter and automating unwanted frequencies in the mix. This is battle half won in mixing the stage.

As a rule of thumb use high quality stock or buy 3rd party sounds such as Kontakt library just an example.you will never go wrong with this for a start. You can also get high quality drum sounds >Click here<

easy guide to mixing

easy guide to mixing

2. Leveling your sounds

To achieve a good mix,practice leveling all your instruments to optimum levels on the mixer which all DAWS have.The loudest sounds which are not the main sounds should be kept minimum or just to a level that is not annoying for lack of a better term.

Leveling each instrument in the track ensures no signals are clashing or competing. It also ensures that you achieve a cleaner mix and more balanced sound. 

You can also practice reducing individual volume that is found on each instrument’s parameters to tame any harshness that could destroy the dynamics of a track.


easy guide on mixing

3. Panning

This is great way of ensuring you give all sounds stereo separation to avoid clashing.This is achieved by turning the sounds left or right to a percentage that suits you. Indicated by regions within the red circles.

As a rule of thumb if you decide to do hard panning, on two instrument tracks make sure to tame down the volume of the louder one(s). However , you do not have to have a balance on the panning percentage on both, for example 50% Left and 50% Right. You can always choose to use different percentages on the stereo field to make your song or track more creative and interesting to listen to.

NB: The main point here is to create more space on the master signal. Remember the less instruments you use the better  and clearer your mix will be in most cases; unless you are using very harsh sounds to cause distortion.  



4. Reverb/Room

  Moreover,consider adding reverb or delays to your instruments and vocals to create some room for them. The effect of reverb on sounds gives better perception and clarity to the listener. Most common ones are fruity reverb 2,delay 2 &3 ,ambiance ,reverb solo spring reverb e.t.c


Easy guide to mixing

5. Compression

Learn to compress some sounds using stock plugins or any 3rd party ones, like the Fruity Compressor.

Compression ensures to keep an optimum dynamic range of sounds i.e where the sounds is too low it raises it up,and where is too high it cuts down to minimum to fit a good mix.

Compression also adds punch to the mix. Examples of good vsts for compression are Limiter, Multi-band compressor,  Maximus and Fab filter


easy guide to mixing

Compression using FabFilter Pro_C2



“The important thing is to keep practicing  to be better on you mixes everyday.Also never forget to listen to various types of music and learn from their mixes,try and emulate or even make yours better.”




Equalization also is a great practice to achieve a good mix.This is done by toning down unwanted frequencies such as sub basses, too bright sounds on the Khz range that destroy a mix. Depending on the genre of music,Also boosting some frequencies is part of EQ equalization process.


easy guide on mixing

7. Stereo Imaging

 This is process of placing sounds either left or right,front or back,up or down in the stereo field. This ensures that the sound is well balanced and has depth. You can use third party plugin such as ozone imager, stereo-shaper in fl studio, panagement e.t.c


Stereo Imaging



8) Limiting

This refers to the practice of cutting all signal that bleeds beyond 0 Db on your master meter. The purpose of limiting is to remove any distortion that arises out of load sounds in the mix. 

However, over the years i have found a better way to limit. Leave your mixes to at least -6  to -8 Db to allow enough headroom for mastering to take place. 

There are many free and premium limiting plugins on the market such as: Fruity Limiter, Frontier ,Sonnox Oxford Limiter and Maxell Smart.


easy guide to mixing



9) Distortion


When you are done making your track always check whether your sound signal is distorting on the master. Distortion is detected when your out put signal peaks beyond 0 db. Distortion is normally an annoying sound that is irritating to the ear on your final mix. 

However, in this new era of music ; producers have defied the boundaries and gone ahead to create new sounds that incorporate distortion in their music. So distortion is not always a bad thing if used correctly . Examples of genres & styles where distortion is incorporated include Lofi,  trap ,dubstep and EDm.

In most cases , producers choose to distort their bass lines or even kicks drums to make unique tracks as witnessed in drill ,Edm music in general. 

As a rule of thumb make sure to check your overall master signal level , -6 to 0 db is an optimum level for you your final mix to allow room for the mastering engineer to polish your track even further.   



10) Automation

Automation refers to the using curves and manipulating parameter levels on sounds using in-built and external effects on the different sections of a track timeline.  Automation when used correctly will make your track more interesting and kill dullness or monotony. 

The most common effect parameters that can be automated are both master and instrument volume, delay effect, reverb , pitch and so much more.

The best way to automate is to by locating any effect parameter knob , tune it up or down and get your desired level. Then right click on the same effect knob you want to manipulate, then click on option create automation clip having selected section of track you want your to take effect. 


Reverb and master volume are the most commonly used automation curves on many DAW’s. In my opinion automate more reverb levels on quiet parts of the track, and fade it in as you approach the busiest part of the song. This creates more dynamics ,making your tracks more interesting to the listener. 

You can apply automation on master volume in a similar as explained above.


Easy mixing guide -Automation

Illustration of automation curves





These few points on Easy guide to Mixing will keep you on a good start to achieving a good mix.


There are more advanced techniques you can always learn especially on you-tube or on our site.The important thing is to keep practicing  to be better on you mixes everyday.Also never forget to listen to various types of music and learn from their mixes,try and emulate or even make yours better.

Click here for >>Vocal mixing techniques<<                       Click here for >> 20 Tips on how to improve your mixes <<


If you enjoyed this post on easy guide to mixing,please share or leave a comment below.


selling music online

Music producer/Author/Sound Designer

Ric Mukiri

“The important thing is to keep practicing  to be better on you mixes everyday.Also never forget to listen to various types of music and learn from their mixes,try and emulate or even make yours better.”

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